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Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter '46

Former First Lady of the United States

The Vice President of the 1946 GSC Sophomore Class chose the following citation to accompany her yearbook photograph: "There is great ability in knowing how to conceal one's ability”. But Rosalynn Smith was eventually unable to conceal her talents. This admired former First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn Carter, remains a loyal and active alumna. She served as a campus marshal during her sophomore year. In 1975, Rosalynn Smith Carter was the recipient of the first Aeolian Award, and in 1987, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Remembering Rosalynn Carter

Former First Lady and GSW alumna Rosalynn Carter began her leadership journey on Georgia Southwestern’s campus over 75 years ago, where she served as Vice President of her class and campus Marshal. She is pictured here on the far left with her fellow class representatives in 1946. Mrs. Carter was also a founding member of the Young Democrats Club and participated in the GSW Tumbling Club and the C.G. Club, which supported day students who lived off campus.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute (RCI), established in 1987 on the Georgia Southwestern campus, was founded in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to enhance her long-standing commitments to human development and mental health. The RCI facilitates collaborative relationships among citizen consumers, community human service providers, faculty and students to achieve shared goals. The mission of the Institute is to understand the process of caregiving and discover new ways to benefit both formal and informal caregivers. On May 9, 2001, Rosalynn Smith Carter was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by Georgia Southwestern State University.

The Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex has been dedicated on behalf of Rosalynn. Mrs. Carter, President Carter, their family and too many special guests to count were on hand for the event that was capped with the unveiling of a beautifully sculpted statue of Mrs. Carter sitting on a bench holding a copy of her book, "The First Lady from Plains."

The bronze statue was sculpted by acclaimed artists Teena Stern and Don Haugen, a husband and wife team out of Marietta. The base of the sculpture is made from keystone blue granite mined in Elberton, Ga.


The Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex is home to the School of Nursing, Department of Psychology and Sociology, and the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregivers. The complex provides state-of-the-art classroom and clinical space for nursing students along with other lab space and lecture hall. 

Inside Carter I is a tribute wall to Rosalynn Carter and her caregiving efforts throughout her life.